Operation Stand Down Rhode Island is a private, non-profit organization that provides a range of services that promote housing stability among eligible, low-income veterans and their families. OSDRI is receiving a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labors Veterans Employment and Training Service Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program to directly assist homeless veterans and connect them with employment services throughout Rhode Island, including job placement, training, job development, career counseling, and resume preparation. They also will receive $1,007,000 under the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, to serve approximately 350 participant households throughout Rhode Island, southern Massachusetts, and southeastern Connecticut communities bordering Wetserly, Rhode Island.
Headquartered in Massachusetts, with office space in Pawtucket, Veterans Inc. is the largest provider of services to veterans and their families in New England. Veterans Inc.s approach addresses the total veteran, incorporating job training and employment assistance, health care, and supportive services such as transportation and legal aid.
I commend Operation Stand Down Rhode Island and Veterans Inc. for their dedication to helping homeless veterans with employment assistance and other programs. While we have made improvements in addressing veteran homelessness, there is still much work to be done. These federal funds are a smart investment in helping unemployed veterans find work and get the services they need. This federal funding will help OSDRI expand their reach and extend a helping hand to more veterans in need, said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.
For years, Operation Stand Down and Veterans Inc. have worked to address veteran homelessness and help veterans transition back to civilian life," said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. "This grant will fund job placement assistance and other urgently needed services provided by Operation Stand Down and Veterans Inc. I congratulate these two organizations on receiving these awards, and commend their members for their dedication to Rhode Island's veterans."
HUD estimates that more than 62,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, and 13 percent of homeless Americans are veterans. These figures are staggering and unacceptable, U.S. Representative Jim Langevin said. Operation Stand Down puts a roof over our veterans heads, but also addresses the long-term challenges that place returning service members at risk of becoming homeless. Through social service, medical and mental health interventions, they get veterans back on their feet, living up to their mission of a hand up, not a handout.
After all they have done to serve our nation, Americas veterans deserve to know that they will always have access to the services and resources they need once they reenter the civilian workforce. I thank Operation Stand Down Rhode Island for their ongoing work to support our brave men and women in uniform this most recent federal grant will help ensure that the most at-risk members of the veterans community are able to find work and provide for themselves and their families, said U.S. Representative David Cicilline.
Operation Stand Down Rhode Island Executive Director, Erik B. Wallin stated, For twenty years Operation Stand Down Rhode Island has been Rhode Islands leader in providing housing and supportive services to homeless veterans and those at risk of becoming homeless. These federal funds will allow Operation Stand Down RI to serve hundreds of more veterans expanding both our housing and employment and training programs. Wallin continued, The funds come at a critical time. Returning troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and those confronted with the downsizing of the military, face record high unemployment and the number of Rhode Island veterans experiencing homelessness increased at an alarming rate last year. He said, We are appreciative of the support our federal delegation provided us to ensure Rhode Island has the resources it needs to combat both homelessness and unemployment amongst our veterans. We are committed to ensuring those who fought to defend the American Dream have every opportunity to pursue it for themselves and their families.